So many sessions, so much to write about! Harvey Daniels and Nancy Steineke talking about 25 years of lit circles and the absolute importance of creating community for the circles to work. Writing and inquiry circles as the next generation of students collaborating to make meaning. Jim Burke, Jeffery Wilhelm and Alan Sitomer presenting effective adolescent literacy instruction. They speak about the new 3Rs: relevance, relationships and rigour as being the foundation. Janet Allen, who uses the following definition of literacy:
"Literacy involves the ability to encode or decode meaning in any of the symbolic forms used in the culture."
and quotes that:
"Learning is not doing; it is reflecting on doing."
Yvette Jackson, who works with underachieving adolescents in New York has a symbolic representation of learning:
L: (U + M) (C1 + C2)
learning: (understanding and motivation) (competence and confidence)
So what does this mean? We need to focus on strengths, building on what our students know and can do and supporting them as they try new learning. Underachievers have the following characteristics: they are resilient, verbal, sociable, tech savy, creative, passionate, energetic, and problem solvers. So as teachers we know our most challenging students have these characteristics and use this information to create engaging, motivating lessons. And we need to expect HIP for them: high intellectual performance by using HOP: high operational practices (critical thinking: evaluating questioning, critiquing, analyzing, judging and synthesizing). One way to do this is through analogies.
Sara Holbrook showing us how to use summary frameworks that lead into poetry. Lee Ann Spillane showing us how to collect survey data using cell phones (can't wait to try this one). And finally, back to Janet Allen who hopes that all teachers embrace lifelong learning. But to remember that the new new literacies are built on the old literacies. She closes with the quote:
" The quality of the education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers."
So everytime we attend a conference, a pd session, a plc or read a professional book/article/journal we remember that these professional learning sessions contribute to the improvement of the education system as a whole and ultimate to the people we serve, our students.
Check out the NCTE Ning for handouts, powerpoint and discussions from the various sessions.